Freelance Business Success Tips

There are many articles such as this one out there and you may be wondering why bother reading this one. What's different about it?

Many of the articles I have read about working from home as a freelancer will tell you how to be organized, where to find jobs and how to successfully bid on these jobs. They will go on to tell you how to make a killer profile and even give tips on pricing. But here in this article I will give you the exact ingredients for managing a successful freelance home based business.

This article is written by someone who currently operates a successful freelancing business from home and is thinking seriously of expanding. Without further delay please see ingredients below,

Home office photo
Home office photo | Source

1 - Quality

The first thing that comes to mind when searching for a freelancing gig is to get the job and then get paid, but the first thing you should actually focus on is quality. Quality comes in different stages from the moment you think you want to become a freelancer up the point where you have become an expert at it. Quality never stops.

  • Before you start looking for freelance work you need to make sure your work is good enough. Practice your writing or whatever your skill is. Many people think they can freelance because they have started a blog which gets a few readers.
  • Your profile not only needs to sell you but also must be written in a way to reflect the quality work you will offer your clients. Your profile should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. We all make mistakes so keep checking back over and over again for these. Ooops, I just found a typo...lol
  • Your first job will determine the next. Make sure your first job is exemplary. Your client feedback could make or break your career. Put out more than the client asked, be exceptional.

2 - Define your work ethics

This one is thrown out the window by many. Work ethics are a set of values that you have set for yourself which will give the client an insight into your character. Everyone has different work ethics and you should define yours. Some ethics include diligence, initiative, quality and responsibility.

Another key factor in displaying good work ethics is when we take criticism and use it to make our work stand out instead of badmouthing or cussing off a client. We need to understand that there will be many clients who find our style different from theirs. Many clients are experts at what they require you to do and expect the highest quality.

3 - Honesty

There are many people who apply for jobs they know they can't manage, have never done or just plain ignorant about. They apply for it in hopes that they will learn as they go along. This is especially frequent in writing jobs.

If you bid on a job where the terms are not quite clear, after which the terms become clear after the client chooses you; what will you do? This one gets sticky. You need the job so why not just swing it? Not so. You need to let the client know that this is quite new to you and you may not be able to complete it so it is better to find someone else.

Never lie on your bid. If you use work samples that do not belong to you (to get the job) your lie will be revealed in your actual work submission.

If you don't know what a copy is, or what a sales letter entails, do not bid. Only bid on jobs you are adept at doing. It is not your inexperience that will prevent you from succeeding, it will be your bad work ethics or dishonesty.

4 - Integrity

Integrity has to do with being honest, having strong work ethics and character. This is not only being honest with clients by not accepting work you cannot handle; but also honesty in terms of not overcharging your client on a job that is worth less, or undercharging a client and then producing mediocre work.

Integrity is the basis on which you will build your online brand where people will come back to you or recommend you. Word of mouth is one of the strongest advertising strategies and in the case of the internet a recommendation or endorsement represents just that.

5 - Flexibility

Being flexible is a good trait to have in any business. Never be too rigid on your job description, price and time. An example would be not accommodating a client after you have submitted your work. If a client finds that you refuse to answer their messages or you won't negotiate on a lower cost then you may just lose that client who may give you a negative feedback.

Here are my 5 recommendations for you to start your freelance home based business

  1. Elance.com
  2. oDesk.com
  3. Guru.com
  4. Text Broker
  5. Bright Hub

I have had success with the top three. Textbroker is for US or UK based freelancers only but I have heard good things about them.

Bright Hub is more like a content site but you get upfront payment for each article submitted. This site can help supplement your income while you build your online brand.

6 - Investment

There are different types of investment and when it comes to your freelance home based business it's very little different from an in-office business.

  • You must invest your time in research to better understand and learn about your type of business
  • Investing time in producing quality work. My motto is quality over quantity - I would rather spend more time producing quality work than finishing quickly and pushing out mediocre stuff.
  • You must invest some money. I find that for getting better jobs I must invest in a higher membership level on Elance (example). Another way to invest money is office supplies such as pen and paper because even though you are working on the computer there are times you need to take notes, or print a document to edit it thoroughly before handing it to the client
  • Invest in quality equipment. I am talking about software and hardware primarily a good computer with software that can help you make your work stand out. As my business starts to grow I realize I need to invest in a better computer so am shopping around now. Another good investment is a good grammar software such as Grammarly or Ginger.

Tips:

Never let a client get frustrated about not being able to reach you. Keep your client informed about the progress of your project. It is better to frustrate them with constant emails than the lack of communication.

Questions were made to be asked so ask your client questions about the project. Be sure that what you are giving is what they asked for.

Getting a bad feedback is not the end of the world. I got a 3.9 star for a erotic short story yet the client had nice things to say. I was confused and a little hurt by the rating but when I look back on all the other 5 stars I just let it motivate me to do better.


Summary

Managing an online business is hard and may be even more challenging than a regular business due to the fact that you work from home. It will take a while to get your business going and to get it off the ground.

Take time to get to know your business and what clients are looking for. Read other success stories and don't be afraid to ask for help. You may think that writing for clients is easy, it is not. You must consider all your clients as both your bosses and your customers. You are the employee and you must do anything to please your boss, likewise, you must do everything in your power to please the customer so they will return to your business when they are in need.

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Comments 30 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Good suggestions. I never have worked for the content mills like the ones you listed, and I've never bid on jobs. I found my first job on craigslist, and that led to the next, and the next, until I now I pick and choose which jobs I want to do.


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

This is very good advice. I already ran into a situation where an obscure job description led me to attempt a task, only to discover it was something I had no knowledge of. I am glad to know that I did the right thing by returning the task, rather than trying to cram on the subject. It worked out very well, as the next day I found several suitable tasks instead. Ethics definitely pays off!

Great hub! voting and sharing!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Billy, content mills sound like and unfortunate term to maybe because I don't understand it. I see Elance, oDesk and Guru as sites similar to employment agencies and I am a temporary employee. I have never searched for a job on Craigslist so Idon't know how it works over there but I am quite happy with the choices I have made so far.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello Sharkye11. Last year I worked a huge project for a client who asked me to do another. It was along the same line as the first project but it was really tasking and should have been undertaken by a team. I was getting burned out a sick and I really could not handle it so I asked her to find someone else. I had to spend a few months recovering from the headaches I was experiencing so I think I did the right thing there. A few weeks ago a client paid me twice for the same job and I returned the second payment. The client insisted that they didn't pay me but I sent them the invoice where it said I was paid. The client is not a long term client of mine.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Cardisa--this is a very helpful hub! I just got my third job on Elance, and I'm curious as to why you get better jobs if you pay for the higher level of membership. I'm curious but haven't looked into it. I still plan to check out Odesk. Thanks for all the valuable information! Voted up, useful, interesting, awesome!

And I agree with you in that Elance, oDesk, places like that are not content mills. Textbroker is more of one as it requires spitting out article after article. Elance and Odesk have all kinds of different jobs to choose from--writing, blogging, proofreading, editing, ghost-writing. They have a wide variety of jobs to choose from.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Vicki. I discovered on Elance that as soon as I paid for my membership I was getting more invites and I could also bid on more projects. On Guru some jobs are not available to you unless you are a paying member as well. On iWriter.com you can either wait until 30 people have reviewed you to earn more or upgrade to paying member. I just noticed the trend and I found that it works for me. I think on Elance the employers with higher paying jobs see you as a more serious contractor who is willing to invest in earnng than when you are non paying. For a few months last year my membership went back to free and I didn't get any work until I upgraded again, then all sorts of invites were coming in.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 3 years ago from Jamaica

Some nice tips in the article and the comments. Flexibility is my favorite factor. Integrity also benefits you in the long run. Very nice advice.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hey Rasta, thanks. I believe that with the right ingredients freelancing can be a very successful business venture in itself.


sarahshuihan profile image

sarahshuihan 3 years ago from USA

This is a great list. I am just starting out and it is useful! Voted up and sharing :)


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 3 years ago

This is a great article/hub. Thank you for writing it. I have done a great deal of freelance work from home and I love it. Mostly for local businesses and non-profit organizations. I have not gotten as much work recently as in the past because of the economy and money issues with the smaller non-profits and businesses. I have been thinking about going online and have been poking around trying to find the best way to go. This came up today when I was sent my HP notification.

Again, I thank you because now I have somewhere to look and/or begin.


jycmba profile image

jycmba 3 years ago from Los Angeles CA

Lots of great tips - one key point I find missing is how important it is to set expectations. Things happen; deadlines slip, misunderstandings occur, & sometimes hiccups just simply happen.

I've found that keeping clients in the loop is often more important than arbitrary due dates. If I've let them know that I genuinely want to make sure that they get the best product for their money, clients often ease up and sign off on a change.

DON'T PUSSY-FOOT AROUND! If you're not upfront with the client until *oops* the missed deadline, you've got their wrath coming and have only yourself to blame.

On the other hand, if you've communicated and told them what's happening, but somehow it slipped their mind - having an email trail might be your saving grace. There it is - where they acknowledged in black & white that they understood you're running behind.

In Blink Malcolm Gladwell talks about Journal of American Medical Association research that showed how doctors with better bedside manner were far less likely to be sued, even when they've been injured.

Read about it in detail here.. keyword: "malpractice"

http://goo.gl/JED8U


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Sarah, I really wish you every success.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Dee, freelancing at home is a great way to earn an income. There are places online that you can join to get a head start. I hope your business picks up again.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Jycmba, thanks. You are right about that. You should be clear with the client and communication plays a vital role in all this. Setting reasonable deadlines and rescheduling should something go wrong is very important.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

I am suure this article will help anyone wanting to work from home, great tips...


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Ruby. Did you get my invitation to join my site? It's a network of creative writers.


livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Thank you for this hub. A very useful one for people who wish to take on freelancing. I have heard about freelancing, but not stepped my fott into one so far. Voted up, pinning and sharing! I am sure a lot of people will benefit from this!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

cardisa, nice article on how to maintain a freelancing business form home. definetly beneficial tips and techniques on how to be successful and how to grow in the future. thanks. voted up.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you Livingsta. Freelancing is a great way to earn a living and be your own boss. I hope you try it.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Torrilynn, without some of these ingredients you may not be able to succeed.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Cardisa, I am getting close to making this jump on freelance work. Thanks for the suggestions and advice. I appreciate your sharing and encouragement. Voted up!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Teaches, I wish you every success when you do. I can assure you it's very fulfilling.


dwachira profile image

dwachira 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Hi Cardisa,

As a freelancer, i know quality is a powerful factor if one is to establish a strong lead in freelancing. I have seen far so many clients insisting much on quality on some gigs sites and i think this should be #1 factor for online content. Great article, voted up, useful and shared.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Dwachira, you are so right. quality should be the number one factor when working online or even in print. Thanks for the positive comment.


Purpose Embraced profile image

Purpose Embraced 3 years ago from Jamaica

Thanks Cardisa, great advice.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

You're welcome and thank you for stopping by Purpose Embraced.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia

Hello Cardisa, I still feel that I am in my infancy with freelancing. I am getting gigs and the types vary. Most of mine are from referrals, so far. I really haven't been able to do as much with the online writing sites, but would like to give that a try, too.

You have some great tips here. I wish you could tell me how to manufacture more time. lol Voted up and useful.

Take good care.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Cyndi, I have been working on manufacturing the time for myself as well....lol.. There doesn't seem to be much time in the day to get the work done but the main is is to communicate with the client. I used to fear missing a deadline but I have found that many clients are willing to extend the deadline.


Keesha Metcalfe profile image

Keesha Metcalfe 2 years ago from The Beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica

Great article Cardisa. I have been freelancing for awhile but only began taking it like a serious business a few months ago. I absolutely love writing and being a Freelancer is what I've always wanted to do....be my own boss, do my own thing, earn as much or as little as I make up my mind to. Your tips about integrity etc ring so true....Love your articles! One Love!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Keesha, welcome to Hubpages. So happy to see another Jamaican here. I wish you every success in your Freelance business.

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